We are healthcare consumers, caregivers, and survivors. We are teachers and learners.
We are healthcare providers, lawyers, social workers, researchers, and policy shapers.
We are collaborators and problem-solvers. We are advocates.
To contact a specific staff person, call (608) 265-6267 or email us at email@example.com.
- Martha “Meg” Gaines, JD, LLM, Director / Clinical Professor
- Sarah Davis, JD, MPA, Associate Director / Clinical Asst. Professor
- Rachel Grob, PhD, Scholar-in-Residence/Director of National Initiatives
- Kathy O’Connell, PhD, Director of Educational Development
- Kelly Douglas, Development Director
- Marc Korobkin, JD, Instructional Technology Specialist
Martha “Meg” Gaines, JD, LLM
Director / Clinical Professor
Martha “Meg” Gaines, founder and director of the Center, was called to advocacy work after her own experience with illness. In 1994, Meg was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which ultimately spread to her liver. In early 1995, a doctor told her to “go home and think about the quality, not the quantity” of her remaining days. Her children were toddlers at the time. But Meg did not go home and die. She went on an odyssey around the United States and found the surgeon who would save her life.
Meg received her undergraduate degree in religion from Vassar College in 1977 and graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1983. Following her graduation, she served as a law clerk in Arizona and as a trial attorney for the Milwaukee office of the State Public Defender. In 1987, she returned to the Remington Center at the University of Wisconsin Law School to teach. She earned her post-graduate Master of Laws degree in 1993 from the University of Wisconsin.
Sarah Davis, JD, MPA
Associate Director / Clinical Asst. Professor
As Center Associate Director, Sarah Davis is currently collaborating with our new Directors of National Initiatives and Educational Development on our exciting emerging endeavors in e-learning, professional field-building, and activities related enhancing the capacity of patients to influence state and federal health policy, and the responsiveness of the health care system to consumers’ experiences.
Sarah served as the chair of UW’s Interprofessional Health Committee from 2008-10 and currently represents the Center on the SaveBadgerCare and Covering Kids and Families coalitions. Publications include: “Educating for Health Advocacy in Settings of Higher Education” in Patient Advocacy for Health Care Quality: Strategies for Achieving Patient-Centered Care, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. (with Meg and Rachel) and “Ten Strategies to Build Partnerships With Patients,” Wisconsin Medical Journal (with Meg and former colleague Mary Michaud).
Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Concurrently, she obtained a master’s degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs, during which she staffed the Dane County/Madison Joint Public Health Advisory Committee, working towards the unification of the county and city public health departments.
Rachel Grob, PhD
Scholar-in-Residence/Director of National Initiatives
Rachel Grob, Ph.D. is the Center’s new Scholar-in-Residence and Director of National Initiatives. Rachel is leading the Center’s policy and research initiatives, collaborating with Center staff and other visiting scholars on patient advocacy field-building projects. Rachel brings to her position an ongoing affiliation with a range of organizations and institutions active in health reform, advocacy education, and health policy. She is also an experienced educator, coalition builder, and qualitative researcher.
From 2003 – 2011, Rachel was associate dean of graduate studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and she has been on the faculty of the College’s Health Advocacy Program (HAP) since 1998. For her last four years at Sarah Lawrence, she also directed the college’s Child Development Institute, engaging in research, outreach, and program development focused on children, childhood and education. As a Health Advocacy Program faculty member, Rachel taught a number of courses and played a central role in curriculum development, particularly with respect to increased focus on the linkages between individual patient advocacy, community mobilization, and system-level policy change. Over this same time – working in conjunction with CPP’s Meg Gaines and Sarah Davis –she played a formative role in nascent efforts to develop professional codes and ethics for the health advocacy profession. Rachel, Meg and Sarah co-authored: “Educating for Health Advocacy in Settings of Higher Education” in Patient Advocacy for Health Care Quality: Strategies for Achieving Patient-Centered Care. Edited by J. Earp, E. French, M. Gilkey. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. (2008). Rachel’s research and scholarship on the connection between advocacy and policy change has been funded by an Investigator Award in Health Policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2006 – present).
Prior to completing her doctorate in sociology and moving into higher education full time, Rachel worked as a health advocate in public, non-profit, and community settings.
Kathy O’Connell, PhD
Director of Educational Development
Kathy has many years of teaching and clinical health care provider experience, as well as a passion for curriculum development and qualitative research. She comes to the Center from the University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health/Department of Medicine where her responsibilities included curriculum development and oversight of the post-graduate medical education curriculum for the internal medicine residency and fellowships. Kathy also brings experience from the UW’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) where she created adult educational modules for faculty researchers and communities in Type 2 Translational Research (T2TR). She has also served as a member of the research and evaluation team for the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute (WISELI), which afforded her opportunities in qualitative research and design.
Kelly is the Center’s first Development Director, a role dedicated to raising funds to support and advance the ground-breaking work at the Center. A dual aspect of her position is communicating the purpose and advancements of the Center and the patient advocacy field to our supporters and stakeholders.
With a background in non-profit management, including fundraising and business development, Kelly brings the experience and energy needed to help propel our mission forward. The path to the Center has been carved out not only through her experience with an advocacy based, empowerment focused agency and a welcome reconnection to the university where she received her undergrad degree, but also through her own personal struggle with a diagnosis of malignant melanoma at the age of 20. While this path took various curves and detours, Kelly is thankful that these various elements of her experience lead her to the Center.
Marc Korobkin, JD
Instructional Technology Specialist
Marc provides oversight and support to a number of initiatives at the Center, including two of our pioneering online programs funded by a generous grant from the Madison affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure (AdvocacyForMe.org & PlanBeyondCancer.org). He is an integral part of our new e-learning initiative, provides support around evaluation and curriculum revision, assists with efforts around consumer engagement in health care, and is regularly involved in projects utilizing his graphic, media production, and web design skills. Other examples of Marc’s work include the migration to and implementation of the Center’s case management system, and the continued support and training of staff and students on this system.
Marc graduated from University of Wisconsin Law School in 2009 and currently serves on the UW Health Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council. When he is not at the Center, Marc enjoys photography, with many of his pictures being featured on the Center’s various websites and at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center.
Suzanne Lee, MD
Suzanne Lee is the staff physician at the Center for Patient Partnerships. Her areas of expertise include helping clients understand confusing diagnoses and their ramifications; researching the medical literature to assist patients in making evidence-based treatment choices; interfacing with the medical community to improve patient/physician communication; and, her favorite, searching for clinical trials.
Advocacy has been a way of life for Suzanne’s family. Her mother, a cancer survivor and life-long community activist, is the president of the board for a non-profit agency serving at-risk youth. Suzanne’s father, a physician and survivor of advanced prostate cancer, assertively advocated that he be treated with novel therapies and has dedicated the latter part of his career to the cryosurgical treatment of prostate cancer. He is also an outspoken advocate for the screening and early diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Suzanne’s most personal effort navigating our complex medical system was advocating for her own son, who was having medical problems and facing developmental disabilities. Married to a physician, and counting many medical doctors among her family and friends, Suzanne is able to draw knowledge from a vast array of specialists.
Jessica Gilkison, JD
Jessica Gilkison provides patient advocacy and supervision to professional and graduate students at the Center for Patient Partnerships. Jessica was drawn to the Center through her positive experiences in clinical programs while in law school, as well as her family’s experience receiving services from the Center.
Jessica has experience as a support person for family members with serious health issues. She draws on this experience as a member of the UW Health Adult Patient and Family Advisory Council. A member of Jessica’s family was a client of the Center in 2007 and received support in seeking a second opinion and navigating the realm of clinical trials. The support was invaluable and Jessica was thrilled when the opportunity arose for her to join the Center staff.
Prior to joining the Center, Jessica worked as a staff attorney at Disability Rights Wisconsin providing training and supervision to benefit specialists in the Disability Benefit Specialist Program, for which she was previously the program coordinator.
Lael Sheber, RN, BSN
Lael Sheber provides patient advocacy and supervision to professional and graduate students at the Center for Patient Partnerships. Helping others communicate with medical providers to get the care they deserve has been the foundation of Lael’s work in health care for almost two decades. Lael’s professional background includes working as a labor and delivery nurse in a hospital setting, as a prenatal and triage nurse in a community clinic setting, and as a homebirth midwife. She is a conversational Spanish speaker and has worked within the latino community throughout her career.
Working at the Center For Patient Partnerships allows Lael to share her work and personal experiences in health care to not only improve people’s lives through advocacy but to also inspire and support others working in this field.
Pete Daly advocates for patients at the center through his direct experience as a cancer patient and continuing client of the center. In September 2002 he faced Stage III Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Through the help of the center, he built his medical and support teams, entered a long lasting clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (NIH/NCI), and learned to proactively address his health care. Not long after his diagnosis and receiving “as his life depended upon it” direction from Director Meg Gaines, Pete began working at the Center by directly assisting other patients and supervising professional degree students.